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A week and a half ago, Canadians went to the polls and cast their ballots, with the result being a minority government led by Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party. The Conservatives won the popular vote nationally but finished over 30 seats behind the Liberals. That result was driven primarily by where the votes were concentrated, The Conservatives won by huge margins across the Prairies whereas the Liberals spread their support across regions, with a strong showing in and around Toronto.

The break-down of seats looks to give the Liberals enough strength that they will not have to establish a formal coalition to govern. It appears that with the expensive toll of the campaign, and limited fundraising, the NDP will have very little incentive to fight another campaign in the near future. The Bloc Quebecois has positioned itself as being potentially cooperative on decisions that will have strong benefits for the Province of Québec.

Over the past 40 days, campaigns jockeyed for position in 338 ridings from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Parties on the left and the right offered voters starkly different versions of what the future of our country can and should be. Billions of dollars were committed for national programs, millions of Canadians voted, thousands of candidates put their names on the ballot, hundreds of policies were proposed, and dozens of scandals changed the course of the campaign.

The Bloc Québecois gained the most ground in the overall seat count, surpassing the expectations of relatively accurate polling projections, which showed their momentum growing steadily since the midway point of the campaign. The NDP, for all the hype surrounding leader Jagmeet Singh, lost more than a dozen seats, falling back to their fewest number of seats since 2004, along with a smaller share of the popular vote.

The biggest story of the campaign may be the intense divisions, both between regions and political viewpoints that emerged. It remains to be seen if it will be Justin Trudeau who bridges those gaps over the months ahead, and where his opponents will stake out the ground.

Analysis

The federal election started with a much clearer focus on environmental policy than it ended with.  There is some sense that the Liberals knew they were losing ground to the Greens and to the NDP in places like British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, which shifted their focus away from environmental policy.  The new government provided ample policy support in its platform for addressing the climate agenda.  They are committed to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050 and will have to take decisive action early in their mandate to get and keep support from voters, who showed themselves to be much more environmentally-focused across the country.

Knowing this will affect HRAI’s positioning with the new government over the months ahead.

The Liberal commitment to cut in half income-taxes for companies that develop and manufacture energy-efficient products may benefit only a few of HRAI’s members who manufacture in the country but, with such a measure in place, it might be easier for HRAI to encourage a broader scope to wholesalers, retailers, and contractors who play a role in delivering energy-efficient, low carbon solutions.

The continuation of the carbon tax and the clean fuel standard will lead to market effects that make HRAI members’ products and services potentially more appealing to consumers both in commercial and residential settings.  In the weeks and months ahead, HRAI will re-engage with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to discuss effective ways to deploy the Climate Action Investment Fund and other commitments to tackle climate issues.

Among other things, the Liberal platform promised the following programs/policies:

  • Retrofitting 1.5 million homes over the next 5 years for energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction
  • A free energy audit for all interested homeowners and landlords
  • An interest-free loan of up to $40,000 based on the result of the audit
  • A Net Zero Homes Grant of up to $5,000 to help buyers of newly built homes that are certified “zero-emissions”
  • $100 million in skills training to ensure there are enough qualified workers to keep up with the increased demand for energy audits, retrofits, and net-zero home construction
  • Energy Star certification mandatory for all new home appliances by 2022
  • A national competition to create four $100-million long-term funds to help attract private capital that can be used for deep retrofits of large buildings, such as office towers

With the NDP, Greens, and Bloc Quebecois holding the balance of power, Canadians should expect that environmentally-focused policies will be a focus for the early stages of the minority Parliament. Multi-partisan support with these caucuses may help to advance HRAIs priorities, but the coming months offer a very strong opportunity for HRAI to leverage its expertise as a trusted partner of policymakers in delivering the results the government hopes to achieve.

In advance of the election, HRAI met with all the major parties (except the Bloc) to ensure there was some understanding of industry priorities.  With the election behind us, HRAI will be working with the new government to ensure that these programs and policies are rolled out in a fashion that proves beneficial to the HVACR industry.

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 235. Or email mluymes@hrai.ca

(Note: Some of the above information and analysis provided by Impact Public Affairs and Efficiency Canada.)